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Travel: Switzerland to announce new entry rules from September 20th

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 17 Sep, 2021 Updated Fri 17 Sep 2021 11:44 CEST
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The Swiss-French border during the Covid pandemic. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss Federal Council is set to announce new entry rules, with the government proposing that almost all arrivals will need to be tested - and unvaccinated people would need to quarantine.


PLEASE NOTE: This story was originally published on September 8th. The final decision has now been made. Click here for more information

On September 13th, the Swiss government announced the Covid certificate would be expanded amid rising hospitalisations, including in the country’s ICUs. 

Covid certificates - available to those who have been vaccinated, negatively tested or recovered from the virus - are now required in bars, gyms, restaurants and indoor areas of most businesses and venues. 

READ MORE: Q&A: Answers to your questions about Switzerland’s expanded Covid-19 certificate

What are Switzerland’s planned new tighter entry rules? 

At the same announcement, the government indicated it will tighten entry rules to prevent further spread of the virus, with the changes to come into effect from September 20th. 

The new measures will be announced Friday afternoon September 17th.


The Swiss government indicated it was abandoning the country list-based approach, which has been common place since the start of the pandemic. 

Option one is the comparatively more relaxed route, with option two requiring a quarantine for all unvaccinated arrivals.

Option one: Two tests

According to option one, all unvaccinated arrivals or those who cannot show proof of having had the virus and recovered in the past six months must show a negative test on arrival, regardless of where they come from. 

Between four and seven days after having arrived in Switzerland, another test needs to be taken. 

Both tests must be taken at the arrival’s expense. 

Option two: Quarantine

According to option two, all unvaccinated arrivals or those who cannot show proof of having had the virus and recovered in the past six months must show a negative test on arrival, regardless of where they come from.

Arrivals will need to go into quarantine for ten days, with people allowed to leave quarantine from the seventh day with a negative test result. 

Will the rules pass? 

Switzerland's complicated governance structure has meant that the federal government usually seeks to have the country's 26 cantons on board when putting in place new rules with regard to the pandemic. 

While the proposals may encounter some resistance, up until this point whenever rules are 'put out for consultation' by the federal government, they tend to be put in place in a relatively unchanged form. 

In this case however, as there are two options, it is likely that the government will see which of the two the cantons find more favourable before putting them in place. 


Who will the rules apply to?

Whether option one or two is chosen, the rules are expected to apply to all arrivals, although some exceptions will be made for cross-border workers, children under 16 years of age and transit passengers. 

The current rules for entering Switzerland can be seen in the following link. 

UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

Why stricter rules? 

 Health Minister Alain Berset said the Covid certificate – which proves vaccination, a negative test or recovery from the disease – would now be required in almost all indoor areas, other than a handful of exceptions. 

Berset said the expansion was necessary, as the “situation is very serious” in the hospitals. 

More than 90 percent of those patients in Swiss hospitals have not been vaccinated, said the health minister.

Switzerland has the most patients in ICU of any European country on a per capita basis. 

EXPLAINED: Why does Switzerland have Europe’s highest number of ICU admissions? 



The Local 2021/09/17 11:44

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jodi 2021/09/17 11:39
Where is this “in the last 6 months” detail coming from ?

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